The Whole Armor of God

Today we’re gonna closeout Ephesians, Paul’s taught us about the glory that is the unity of Christ. The glory that we can expect if we are in union with Christ, if we are in unity as Christians as the body of Christ. Paul continues the lesson and teachers us exactly what it means to be a Christian and to live a Christian life, he teaches us what it means to have a heart, a heart for God, for ourselves and for all of God’s children. He then goes on to the mind of a Christian and we are taught that one of the most important things about Christianity and that is as Christians we need to have wisdom, we must turn from foolish things. And the most foolish thing we do is to allow Satan into our hearts, into our heads, into our lives. Now I know you’re saying pastor, I don’t let Satan anywhere near me what are you crazy, why would I let Satan near me? I mean I’m not stupid and I know none of you are stupid. No one lets Satan near them. Like I said and as it’s pointed out many times in scripture Satan is a crafty guy, the evil one can sneak right in there with you, no problem, and there’s very little that we can do, no that’s not right, alone there is nothing that we can do to stop it. That’s right I said there’s nothing we can do to stop it in and of ourselves. Only through the grace of God and the love of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit can we as human beings hope to fight this battle. Paul say: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  Paul says in the revised version be strong in the Lord however a more literal translation of the words that Paul use is not be strong but rather be strengthened, to be strengthened in the Lord, to be in the strength of his power. We cannot strengthen ourselves we must be empowered by God. And that power is not something that is infused in us once and done.

By that I mean we’re not little Energizer bunnies with the power of God always in us, rather than it being just one time, the power of God must strengthen us constantly just as we are constantly growing into Christ into God’s sanctifying grace. It’s a process it’s not a one-shot cure-all thing. It’s a constant struggle. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. It truly is a fight it is a battle, it’s not a game, people die every day waging this war ancient war. The enemy is real, in the United States we don’t seem to really believe this like I’ve said before it’s almost impossible to get the average American to believe in spiritual warfare. They are more likely to believe in Casper the ghost and the haunted stories on Saturday Night Live or whatever TV reality show happens to be playing this week, rather than the word of God. The enemy is powerful, he is cunning, and he is ruthless, and he is after all of us. What we’re told as Christians is that we have already won the war and that’s not true. God has already won the war but we as Christians still have to fight the battles. The day of glory is not today and it’s not for us to decide, the day of glory is for God to decide, and none shall know the day not even the Son. James Montgomery Boice in his expositional commentary on Ephesians has this to say “Many Christians today would judge the teaching of these verses unimportant. They would encourage us to think positively and peacefully, as if there were no spiritual battles at all. They see Christianity not as an entrance into warfare but as an exit from it. They see it as the solution to our problems. If you are sick, Jesus will make you well. If you are discouraged, Jesus will make you happy. You get the impression from those who talk like this that to believe in Jesus is to enter upon a smooth path and to enjoy smooth sailing” It’s not, as any Christian can tell you trials and tribulation is what you can expect, Jesus told us [Mathew 10:34] “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. And whether you believe in the enemy or not, he believes in you. So, 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Why do we stand firm? For the same reason that we dress in our armor it is to be ever mindful that we stand ready and able to do god’s will through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. That it is, God and no other that strengthens us.

We fasten the belt of truth around our waist because we battle the deceiver, “when he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:44b] So speak only the truth and the breastplate of righteousness will protect you from the unrighteous: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all impiety and unrighteousness of people, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what can be known about God is evident among them, for God made it clear to them.  [Romans 1:18-19 LEB] The unrighteous fear the truth, they fear to tread its path, just as they fear the light, but not so the righteous we do not fear this path because we are wearing the right shoes. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. Don’t be afraid to get out there and preach the Gospel. If you don’t go forward if you don’t proclaim the good news how will people here and if they don’t hear, how will they come to believe, and if they don’t believe, how will they come to know Christ. 15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” [Roman 10:15] Do not fear the road, for you are clothed for the journey, but this road leads to conflict, this road takes us into great danger so even though we are clothed for battle still 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The Devils not gonna stand back and let you walk that path free and easy. He’s constantly gonna be sniping at you taking potshots every time you turn your head here is gonna come another arrow not just any arrow but flaming arrows. The devils not just out to put holes in you, he’s out to burn your life to the ground. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [Ephesians 2:8] It is our faith that opens us to God it is through his grace and his grace alone that “you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your soul.” [1 Peter 1:9] So, 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. The word of God, the Bible is your sword so do not neglect it. The way to keep it sharp is to read it daily. Just like a sword you need to practice with it. It’s no good if it just sits on your coffee table, when you really need it you won’t know how to use it.

You’re no different from any other warrior and the best warriors practice constantly. You have to practice with your weapon to be an effective warrior of God. Amen.  All these things are needed but the most important thing in any battle is communication.

You need to 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak. Always be in communication with God, pray that like Paul you may be bold and declare the Good News as we are commanded by God to do. Even if you are surrounded and in chains the enemy can never take the armor of God from you. You are never without that protection no matter where you are, and you will always have your sword to defend against the evil days no matter when they come. Amen.

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